Fired up vegetarian: no nonsense barbecuing, 184pp.
by Ross Dobson
Murdoch Books, Crows Nest NSW, 2013
Cooking on pages 132–33
I really like Ross Dobson’s flair with food. I first came across his recipe five years ago when we were visiting friends in Victoria. Jan went through her cookbooks to find a likely page-32 option for us to make. That memorable fish dish remains one of my favourites on this blog, and it led me to track down more of Dobson’s books.
In this book, Dobson sets out to prove to us that vegetarian cookery deserves a place on the barbecue. Page 32 is a chapter divider, so I moved on to a great looking option on pages 132–33. Let’s see how good it is.
Sugar pumpkin with lentils and tangy dressing
55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) puy lentils or tiny blue–green lentils
1 sugar or butternut pumpkin (squash), about 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz)
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 cup small mint leaves
1 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) light olive oil
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
To make the dressing, put the olive oil, chilli and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the chilli and garlic start to sizzle, cook for just a minute or two longer, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt and mix until dissolved. Pour into a jar or bowl and set aside to infuse.
Put the lentils in a small saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy—this may take as little as 5 minutes, or up to 20 minutes, depending on the age of your lentils, so check them regularly. Drain well and set aside.
Preheat the barbecue grill to medium.
Cut the pumpkin in half, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Leaving the skin on, cut the pumpkin into wedges no thicker than 2 cm (3/4 inch). Brush the flesh with the rice bran oil and cook on the grill for 10 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through, checking regularly to ensure it doesn’t burn too much.
Put the hot pumpkin in a large bowl with the onions, herbs and lentils. Stir the dressing , then pour it over the pumpkin.
Toss gently to combine. Serve warm. Serves 4.
How it played out
I made this during our stay in Flinders Island in March. We were invited for a barbecue at Ken and Carolyn’s and I volunteered to bring a couple of salads.
I was pleased to find puy lentils in the small supermarket in the main town on Flinders. There was already a large chunk of pumpkin in the fridge where we were staying, as well as a bottle of rice bran oil in the cupboard. While I got all the ingredients ready (I cut the pumpkin in chunk), Poor John and Graeme cleaned up the gas barbecue. Too many of the holes on the main burner were clogged, so they went to work with a safety pin. 🙂
Of course, some of the pumpkin pieces got a bit charred, but that didn’t affect the taste. Served with a wonderful feast of crayfish, whiting, kebabs and more.
A really great vegetable salad recipe that I will make often. It looks so colourful and the flavours are wonderful. The dressing adds a lovely tang, and some of us squeezed over a bit of lemon and lime juice to give a bit of extra zing.
Soon I’ll be writing more about Ken and Carolyn and others who provided catering and food service on Flinders Island. That will appear on my travel blog and I’ll add a link when it’s up.